Driver Who Killed Ironman Boulder Cyclist Michelle Walters Unlikely to Be Cited

Update: No conclusions have been reached regarding the investigation into the death of cyclist Michelle Walters, who was killed while competing in Ironman Boulder this past weekend (see our previous coverage below).

However, Trooper Nate Reid, a spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol, says it's extremely unlikely that Timothy Lacey, the 55-year-old-driver of the truck that struck and killed Walters, will be cited.

"That's the direction we're going," Reid says.

The crash took place at around 9:54 a.m. on Sunday, August 7, "westbound on U.S. Highway 36 near mile marker 31 — on the northwest side of Boulder, where it goes down to a two-lane part of the road," Reid notes. "The Ironman folks had the shoulder and almost two feet of the actual lane. That's where all the competitors were during that section of the race, and it was described to me as a heavily coned area."

Walters was riding westbound, as was a 2013 Toyota Tacoma driven by Lacey, who was alone when the incident took place.

At that point, Walters, "for whatever reason, left the designated lane to her left and sort of sideswiped the truck," Reid continues. "That caused her to fall or be ejected from the bicycle, and she was either hit or run over by the rear tire of the truck."

Afterward, Walters, the mother of a preschool-age child, was rushed to Boulder Community Hospital, where she failed to respond to treatment.

Investigators believe that Lacey "was inside the travel lane where vehicles are supposed to drive," Reid notes — and excessive speed and alcohol use have already been ruled out. While the CSP will "do a complete reconstruction" of the accident before making a final determination about Lacey's role in the tragedy, Reid says it appears that the driver "never saw her until it was too late."

Continue for our earlier report.

Original post, 6:38 a.m. August 8: Days after last year's Ironman Boulder challenge, competitor Brian Godlove died of causes associated with the race, including dehydration.

The latest Ironman Boulder, staged yesterday, brought a different kind of tragedy. McCook, Nebraska's Michelle Walters, 34, was killed after being struck by a vehicle during the race.

Thus far, the Colorado State Patrol has released only the barest details about the crash.

These include its location: U.S. Highway 36 just north of Broadway.

Beyond that, the state patrol notes only that "alcohol and speed are not believed to be contributing factors in the crash."

Walters's death is only one of several high-profile cycling deaths over the past year or so.

On August 1, 2015, as we've reported, Will Olson died during a freak accident during the Big Mountain Enduro in Crested Butte.

And less than three weeks later, Scott Ellis passed away of natural causes while taking part in the Leadville 100 — a scenario similar to the one that claimed Godlove's life.

There have also been plenty of horrific vehicle-versus-cycling incidents that resulted in serious injuries — among them the March 15 accident that severed the arm of Phil Zajicek, a former professional cyclist.

No charges were filed against the truck driver involved in the Zajicek case.

As for Walters, she was an accomplished cyclist. As noted on Facebook, she won the women's division race in the Dundy Beach Sprint Triathlon, staged on July 31 in Benkelman, Nebraska.

After Walters's death, the organizers of Ironman Boulder released a statement through the Colorado State Patrol. It reads:
We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of one of our athletes at Ironman Boulder. We are working with the Colorado State Patrol to gather all of the details regarding the incident that occurred on State Highway 36 just north of Broadway. Our condolences go out to the athlete’s family and friends, whom we will continue to support.
Other online remembrances stressed the risks to cyclists from motor vehicles.

Here are several examples:
As the family of a triathlete, we are thankful for my brother and his friend finishing this race safe and sound, but the devastating news of this young triathlete losing her life today so tragically hits home. Prayers and condolences to her family. And please please look out for runners, bikes, kids, anything and everything when you're driving.

Sad, sad news.... You're seeing this more & more, it seems. Unless you do triathlons, it's hard for people to understand the extreme hard work a person puts into a race & how special a race day of any kind is. To have that day taken away is truly sad.

Sad news, RIP Michelle. This has to stop.
The accident that killed Walters is under investigation at this writing.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts